Fenwick Island home to unique yacht club

Founded in 1961, the Fenwick Island Yacht Club is not a typical yacht club: it has no clubhouse, no boat slips, nor a precise address, but does have many enthusiastic members. An association of about 90 families, the Fenwick Island Yacht Club gathers on now-disappearing Seal Island several times a year to race catamarans, sunfish, double-sail mono-hulls and kayaks.

Not everyone who belongs to this club has a boat. According to Nancy Bartz — a Fenwick Island Yacht Club member and chairwoman of the club’s upcoming boat parade — some people join the club only for its social events, which are held at local restaurants or the beach. This year, a season-opening cocktail party was held at Shark’s Cove in Fenwick, and the club is scheduled to have a beach party, awards dinner and bonfire on Sept. 16.

The club will host an Aug. 12 boat parade around the Fenwick Island canals, with the theme of “An Evening in Paradise.” The parade will begin at 5 p.m.; boat registration is not limited to Fenwick Island Yacht Club members.

“For this event, we hope to draw people who wouldn’t ordinarily be part of the club,” said Bartz. “We will assemble at Seal Island, and then the boats will proceed from West Virginia Avenue Canal, to Dagsboro Street Canal, to the open bay, to the back bay, to the Dagsboro Street Canal and back to Seal Island.”

The club has its “Ship’s Store” at the house of one of its members, Janet Hess (24 Farmington Street). The store carries sweatshirts, golf shirts, low-profile brim caps and Fenwick Island Yacht Club patches.

Fenwick Island Yacht Club officers for 2006 include Commodore Bob Clark, Vice Commodore Dick Edmonston, Treasurer Lynn Andrews, Secretary Cheryl Hess and Boat Parade Committee Co-Chairs Bob and Nancy Bartz. The positions of Rear Commodore and Entertainment Committee Chair are currently open.

The yearly club membership fee is $20 for a family, or $15 for an individual. The club is currently soliciting kayakers to join the club, as it has recently decided to include kayak races in its many regattas. The club still has at least three regattas planned this summer, which will take place (all at 11 a.m.) on July 22, Aug. 5, and Aug. 19. A make-up sailing regatta, in case of inclement weather, will take place on Aug. 26.